The trouble with labels…

Narrative, Story

Going Nowhere – 28×36 Oil painting (2018)

It has taken me a long time to figure out why I have always resisted other people’s labels that defined who I am based on what I was creating.  My reluctance to be called a violinist, filmmaker, photographer, artist has been misinterpreted as false modesty or insecurity.

But each of these labels felt limiting in their own way.  They came loaded with expectations and baggage that was not my own, and had nothing to do with my intentions/goals for the work I was creating.  And if you’ve known me for any period of time, you know that my creative expression is dynamic, fluid, constantly evolving…

That said, I also realize that I am not above labeling.  If you look on this website, you will find no shortage of labels I have used to define my self, and the lens I bring to the world.  As humans, we are compelled to label and categorize because it helps us organize and make sense of our world–for better or worse.  And so, as long as we have to contend with labels, here are some that more accurately reflect my truth at this moment in time:

I am a restless, curious, creative storyteller.  And I will learn whatever medium it takes to tell the story that is emerging.  The joy of being self-taught is that I am free to follow my inspiration, to be a perpetual student, and to learn by doing.

I am a writer.  I have been writing daily in my journal for the past 40 years.  Writing makes my subconscious conscious—it is my key to unlocking my stories of cultural inheritance and legacy. Then art (in its myriad of forms) is how I make meaning of the narratives that my writing has unearthed.

I am an activist. This is the lens I bring to all aspects of my life.  My activism informs my art.  My art infuses my activism.  It is my way in the world, to personalize the political…and to politicize the personal.

And, above all else (or at the root of it all), I am a mother.

Borders – 24×36 oil painting (2018)


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